(ANSA) - Rome, October 12 - Italian Premier Mario Monti on Friday hailed the decision to award the European Union the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing peace and reconciliation in Europe since the Second World War. "The formula of (using) integration to stop war and guarantee peace and practised for decades is the subject of study and admiration in other parts of the world," said Monti, a former European commissioner. The Oslo-based Norwegian Nobel Committee said in awarding the 8-million-krona ($1.2 million) prize that "the union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe". Nobel committee president Thorbjoern Jagland lauded the EU's work in cementing reconciliation between France and Germany after World War II. He commended the bloc for bringing in Spain, Portugal and Greece after their autocratic regimes collapsed in the 1970s and noted that it was now moving to let Balkan countries join. The award comes as the 54-year-old organisation faces the biggest economic crisis in its history, with many members battling recession amid the euro's financial woes. "It is a great honour for the whole of the #EU, all 500 million citizens, to be awarded the 2012 #Nobel Peace prize," European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said via Twitter. The last organisation to get the award was Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Frontiers), which won in 1999.